Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Wine Drinks

I got a suggestion from one of my readers (Thanks, Dad), that I do a blog on summer wine drinks. While considering such a post, I was asked if there were any summer wine drinks besides Sangria. A quick Google search came up with hundreds, with names such as Cockney Champagne, Arctic Kiss and Lady Madonna. I'm going to stick to the more basic ones, and my favorite recipes for each.

Sangria is made with red wine and a variety of fruit and served over ice. This traditional Spanish wine punch should, naturally be made with a Spanish wine. The Tempranillo grape is traditional, but, a Garnacha would do just as well. For a lighter twist, try it with a dry Rose'.
1 750 ml. bottle of red wine
2 cups sliced fruit (oranges, lemons, nectarines, peaches, mango - your choice)
4 Tbs sweetener (sugar or honey) more or less to taste
4 oz Cointreau liqueur or fruit flavored brandy
8 oz club soda
Serve in individual glasses over ice.

Bellini. This Champagne cocktail would be perfect for a summer brunch. It is one of a handful of cocktails that can trace its origin to a specific time and place. it is said to have been invented in the 1930s at Harry's Bar in Venice. These days it is made with a multitude of different sparkling wines, most often Champagne, but I like it with Prosecco, a dry Italian sparkler. Some recipes call for peach schnapps. Personally, I would rather put a corkscrew in my eye than drink anything made with peach schnapps. I like it simple.
4 oz cold Prosecco
2 oz peach nectar or fresh pureed peaches
Serve in a Champagne flute without ice.

Kir. This drink brings me back to the summer I spent in Europe with my grandparents as a teenager. (Yes, they let me drink, quite a bit, for that matter! But, we'll save that for another post.) It's simply white wine, with a splash of Creme de Cassis, a black currant liqueur, and served with a lemon twist. The Kir Royale is made with sparkling wine. Some make the Royale with Chambord, a raspberry liqueur, but I find that too sweet and stick with the Cassis. Don't use your best white wine, but stick with something drinkable. My rule is, if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it, or mix with it.
5 oz still or sparkling white wine
splash of Creme de Cassis
lemon twist
Serve in a wine glass without ice.

Andito. This is a twist on the rum-based Mojito, invented by my friend Andy (or so he claims!) For this refreshing cocktail, the rum is replaced with white Port, and the mint replaced with basil.
4 fresh basil leaves, muddled in a rocks glass with
1 Tbs simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water)
Fill glass with ice, then add
5 oz white Port
1-2 oz fresh lime juice
splash of club soda
Shake & pour back into rocks glass.

I hope the weather is hot where you are, so you can enjoy one of these summer drinks today!

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